Tuesday, March 31, 2015

동빙고 (dong bing go)

동빙고 (dong bing go)
서울특별시 용산구 이촌동 301-162
tel: 02-794-7171

what was consumed: 팥빙수! 그리고 녹차빙수

shaved ice with red beans is a traditional korean dessert, especially enjoyed in the summer. in the past, i wasn't particularly a fan. and so, when my cousin suggested we go, i had a "meh" look on my face. he said the reviews for this place inn particular were really good and that he had heard about it before. and when we arrived, we saw the long line of people waiting outside. a good sign. and then, after enjoying dohn-bing-soo's fare, i will say that i am a bing-soo convert. and especially if it's served in the dohn-bing-soo way, i will have s'more, and often, please. even in the winter!

paht-bing-soo is shaved ice, with a large dollop of (usually condensed) milk accompanied by a serving of sweetened red beans, with a couple of rice cake bites. when it arrives, one an either mix all of the ingredients together (this is how i enjoy it) or eat it like one would ice cream. it's a nice way to cool down in the summer, and definitely a cool dessert treat.

dohng-bing-goh, though, prepares the paht-bing-soo differently. instead of plain shaved ice, they freeze the milk and then shaved the frozen milk, so that the paht-bing-soo base is delicious and creamy. they stew the sweetened red beans in house, daily, so that the red beans are always fresh and not too sweet or syrupy. they also make the the rice cake bites in house, assuring that they are soft, chewy, and do not harden when placed in the shaved milk. 

ddohng-bing-goh also offers a few other paht-bing-soo flavors, and a couple of options without the red beans. i like the green tea and so will often coerce friends to come along so that we can go share-sies - one regular, one green tea.

rain or shine, cold or heat, turns out i'm always up for some dohng-bing-goh bing-soo. nom nom nom ...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

다모토리 (dah-moe-toe-rhee)

다모토리 (dah-moe-toe-rhee)
서울시 용산구 용산동2가 44-18
tel: 070-8950-8362

what was consumed: galbi platter, korean pancake, 막걸리

near what we call the kimchee pot gate is a strip of restaurants and eateries also known as heh-bang-chon or HBC. so, i was happy to take friend lauren's recommendation as we head there for a night of girl-talk and catching up.

dah-moe-toe-rhee specializes in mock-guhl-lee, traditional rice wine. they have a wall of all sorts of mock-guhl-lee options and the servers seem well versed on which ones are sweet, which ones are dry, which ones have what flavors, etc. 

dah-moe-toe-rhee boasts some delicious fair. the short ribs were prepared well and the chive salad that accompanied was a nice combination. a bit of chive salad with a bite-sized portion of short ribs really did offer the perfect bite with just the right amount of chew accompanied by a little bit of crunch, savory with just a smidge of sweet and spicy. yum.
dah-moe-toe-rhee has a sort of artsy decor, more dark than light, with lots of dark wood. and for whatever reason (maybe the utensil and plating selection), a sense of traditional sophistication. i can't even describe it. what i do know is that lauren tells me they had her favorite mock-gul-lee and i thought the food was delicious. definitely a place you should go, if you haven't already. i'm sure to be back. i hope it sticks around!

for location information: http://place.map.daum.net/11794306

Friday, March 27, 2015

paul bassett

paul bassett
multiple locations

what was consumed: coffee ... with nitrogen!

i've been seeing paul bassett as a premier coffee shop all around town. turns out, paul bassett is a famous (?) barista turned coffee artist. i'm not sure about the history behind his involvement with these coffee shops (i imagine there's at least a little as his name is being used), but it definitely has created a designer-feel to this chain. name what coffee beverage you want! the baristas will likely be able to make it for you.

my draw, though, was the coffee served with nitrogen (only cold, of course), in the style of nitrogen-filled beers (a la boddington's). i had heard about this being an option/new phenomenon, so i had to try. they pour you a "pint" of coffee that looks more like a cup of foam. i think you're supposed to drink the foam, though i was hoping for some bubbly coffee. that sort of sounds weird, but i was intrigued. by the time the foam subsided (the foam that remained, anyway), the remaining coffee tasted like ... coffee. but fun! a good experience.

i've also been told that paul bassett serves some delicious soft serve. i will argue that soft serve in seoul, for whatever reason, is super delicious. i'll have to try paul bassett's version next. and soon! 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

the fry pan

the fry pan
multiple locations

what was consumed: fried chicken with chips

on my day of mass fried chicken consumption, we also went out to the fry pan. a local chain, the fry pan is popular. each location offers just a few seats, but people pack in. the fry pan offers boneless, chicken-strip-like fried chicken. the fried chicken is served on a bed of what looks like in-house-made, thick, potato chips. be sure to eat these quickly before everyone else eats them first (and before they soak up the oil from the fried chicken). i also like that fry pan offers a couple of different dipping sauces. try them all, then go back for refills of your favorites.

Monday, March 23, 2015


multiple locations

what was consumed: fried chicken! regular, and both kinds of garlic. and the spicy chicken with squid specialty.

yay 치맥! fried chicken and beer has been a classic and worthy combination for some time. and while it seems like it's popularity is a recent trend, i will beg to differ as it is something i've been consuming in mass quantities (though less the beer these days) for quite some time.

oh-bbah-dahlk is a local chain of fried chicken joints. they say that they bake oven bake their chicken, but it tastes as crispy and juicy as fried options. but healthier! or so they say. i will take it!

oh-bbah-dahlk offers a variety of options - regular, garlic, sweet garlic ... so crispy and delicious. so when you go, be sure to try them all. and with mugs of beer - the real chi-mek way. and invite me!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

놀부집 부대찌개

놀부집 부대찌개
multiple locations

what was consumed: 부대찌개

nohl-booh-jip is my go-to place for boo-deh-jjee-geh. i guess in a way it's one of a variety of korean style hot pots.

before checking out a film, friend kenny and i head over to nohl-booh-jib for some comfort food. boo-deh-jjee-geh consists of a big pot, with a bit of beef stock, filled with all sorts of things, like dried ramen noodles, rice cakes, hot dogs, spam, and beans. as the story goes, the last couple of ingredients result from supplies koreans received after the war. i like it, though, as it provides the saltiness for the soup. as you hat and nibble on some bahn-chan, the soup cooks all of the ingredients together. and when the soup is nicely and boil-y, you know the ingredients have cooked and a ready for consumption.

i hear that some of the ingredients in this dish are as a result of interactions between the koreans and the military (specifically US). i don't know how true that is, but at this point, it doesn't matter. i'm just glad that boo-deh-jjee-geh is in my life. hahaha.

whether the day be hot or cold, there's always a time and place for boo-deh-jjee-geh. yay!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


서울 김밥
서울 종로구 당주동 128-18 
tel: 02-723-3391

what was consumed: 모듬김밥, 라볶이, 오뎅국 ...

social sponsor told me that work folks had a contest for the best kim-bahb. he and the local staff chose seoul kim-bahb. that was reason enough for me to insist we go there.

there isn't anything particularly spectacular about seoul kim-bahb. they cram in as many chairs as you can and sort of look at you when you finish your meal with a look that says, "hey, a paying customer could be sitting in your seat." and you'd better keep that in mind. if you're not there soon after we break for lunch at 11:30am, you might as well wait for the second seating because the tiny eatery fills up pretty quickly. but don't fret! they also deliver.

as you sit down, be sure to put in your order quickly. the food comes out in the order the orders are received and you surely want to be first in line. as you wait, the ladies will bring some o-deng soup as you start with the kim-chee as you wait the few minutes before the different parts of your order appear on your table.

while an order of "all kim-bahb" might seem like a lot (it is, definitely more than a roll), there's something about getting a few bites of most kim-bahb flavors that makes it so appealing to me. and if you have lah-bbok-kki sauce to dip it in and some o-deng soup to wash it all down, there are fewer things that are better than that. 

the downside is that seoul kim-bahb is further away than some of the other kim-bahb joints (by, like 2 mins. but during lunch, every minute counts!). that said, friends and i make it a point to run out to seoul kim-bahb when we get a hankering which is 1) often and 2) totally worth it.

i took dad there for a quick bite to eat when he was in town. he gobbled down the entire meal with a huge smile on his face and commented on how "these" are tastes of home. agreed!

let's go! NOW.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


서울 용산구 이촌동 300-322 우진상가 103호

what was consumed: donkatsu and udon set!

yay set menus and yay for a-100 reunion meals!

once i got in to town, members of my a-100 fso class got together for a welcome and catch-up meal. we opted to try somewhere near base because 1) that would be easy and 2) it gave me an opportunity to quickly glean from the others who had already been in town a few months. so we head toward dong-boo-ichon-dong near the ichon subway station to check out our options. perhaps driven by our hunger, we quickly opted for some quick japanese fare.

turns out, cobaco is a franchised japanese restaurant chain, specializing in donkatsu (fried pork cutlet). i opted for the option that provided a bit of donkatsu with a bit of udon. it was a hot day outside and jut a bit of each seemed to be a nice and light dinner choice. the donkatsu was crispy on arrival, and the udon noodles were well-cooked in a light and subtle soup. 

most of all, i was happy to have spent the evening catching up with good friends. yummy treat for my belly was the icing on the cake.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


서울특별시 강남구 신사동 588-9
tel: +82 2-3446-5539

what was consumed: 갈비찜. 그리고 만두

kenny, it's been so long!

when i asked kenny to take his pick on where to have lunch, he chose kang-nam myun-ohk. 

we started the meal with some 왕만두, large man-doos, steamed. and, frankly, larger than i thought they would be (even though they're called "king" dumplings). hote and piping, a nice start to the meal.

on to the 갈비찜! admittedly, their kalbi-jjim is a little on the sweet side for me. that, however, did not prevent me from consuming, literally, my weight in beef short ribs. the ribs are marinated and cooked so that the meat is tender and just fall off the bones. yeah, they give me some tongs and other utensils to facilitate the eating, but let's be real: i just used my hands and proceeded to eat in silence, mostly as to not be rude and eat with my mouth filled with deliciousness.

there's nothing particular about the decor. they have some traditional "sit on the floor" seats along with tables with chairs. but let's face it. decor or not, i will be going back for a healthy portion of protein prepared in a delicious fashion.

also. they valet here. it's a bit of a trek from the subway, so i would recommend driving if that's an option you have. it's krw 1,000 and if you're like me, it's worth it. hahahaha ... 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

cafe tolix

cafe tolix
서울시 용산구 한남동 32-26
tel: +82 (2) 797-0313

what was consumed: tteokbokki with 'lil octopus, korean gnocchi in dwenjang cream sauce

hi seoul!

my first meal back ... at cafe tolix. thanks social sponsor, what a great choice!

my return to seoul was a bit of a homecoming. i knew seoul had changed. a lot. and while i was looking forward to some of my old food favorites, i was lookin g forward to some of the new treats that would be ahead of me. i asked my social sponsor to take me out to eat, preferably korean (or fusion); he nailed it!

according to ss, cafe tolix is one of his girlfriend's favorites. i the sort of hip hannam-dong neighborhood, the area boats really cute cafes and the like. sometimes more attention is paid to the decor and ambiance than is the food, which is unfortunate. imo, cafe tolix hit the mark on both fronts.

and the food! cafe tolix offered some really nice fusion options. korean favorites, like ddukbokki, served in a nice cream sauce. and while they seemed only to have a few options to choose from, the ones that we did were flavorful and interesting. i'm curious to try other things on their menu; i hear the options change with what's in season. good!

a welcome first meal in seoul. thanks, cafe tolix, for your delicious welcome and  a great start to what i know will be some amazingly delicious days ahead!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

bear flag fish co.

bear flag fish co.
7972 e. pacific coast highway in the crystal cove promenade, newport beach, ca 92657
tel: 949) 715-8899

what was consumed: poke. lots of poke. and fish tacos.

stacey and i got together to catch up while eating delicious things. leave it to stacey to suggest delicious so.cal locations!bear flag fish co. offers delicious seafood options. stacey tells me that they are known for their fresh pokē (pronounced "poh-kee" for us lay-folk), a hawaiian raw salad/tartare usually made with tuna. we got a combination of pokē, pokē on salad, and fish tacos. more pokē please!

bear flag fish co's pokē is served by weight. and with guacamole. and chips. YES. we opted for a pound of pokē and while there was pokē also on a bed of greens, i could have eaten our entire order on my own. and the fish tacos! fresh, delicious, with a nicely prepared pico de gallo that tops the grilled (not fried) fish in the taco. YUM.

bear flag fish co. has multiple locations. i visited the one off PCH. i imagine, on a clear day, the view out on to the ocean would be incredible. sadly, it was overcast when we met (booo). but it didn't detract from our delicious meal. i can't wait to go back!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

mosaic bar and grill at the montague

mosaic bar and grill (at the montague)
30801 coast highway, laguna beach, ca 92651
tel: 949) 715-6020

what was consumed: shrimp cevice, lobster salad, and a delicious burger!

there is no better way than to spend an afternoon at the beach when the weather is absolutely gorgeous, with good friends and good food! so, when kdk and mbb were in town, i was happy to meet up with them. that it was at laguna beach, so close to my hometown, i was happy to share a bit of my childhood with them.

the montague has an incredible reputation for its facilities and its service. just by virtue of this laguna beach location, i'd say that all of the talk is for real. as a result, the food, service, and vie at their mosaic bar and grill is no different.

as a group, and per usual, we decided that we were going to order a few things and go share-sies. we opted for a few things that was fitting of our mood - cool, fresh, and delicious. also note that all of the dishes came with ample amounts of (perfectly ripened) avocado. ahh, california, i miss you when i'm away.

thank you, mosaic bar and grill, for offering the fare that you did. because, as we sat, overlooking the beautiful view of the pacific ocean as we had good food and good conversation, the meal was just perfect. 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

bru grill & market

bru grill & market
25730 el toro road, at rockfield in the orchard shopping center, lake forest, CA 92630
tel: 949) 305-5757 or 800) bru-grill

what was consumed: from the HH menu: hummus, steak tips, and bacon jalapeno tater tots. then from the dinner menu: bru tour de sau'sage

high school friends' reunion!

while in so.cal on home leave, i sought the company of some of my high school friends. i hadn't seen these ladies, together, in some time, as we are all pressed for time. we all have crazy schedules because of our crazy lines. i would expect no less! it was good to come back together to catch up and see how much we'd grown up over the years. and bru grill & market was a great place for us to do this.

bru grill & market has a great happy hour, and seating that is great for larger-er groups. and the food! fresh, prepared deliciously, and served well. i especially loved the tater tots. they were more mashed potato sticks than traditional tots, but i am not complaining. not at all. i was tempted to eat the entire serving, if not order more just for me. i refrained, of course, but i spent quite a bit of time weighing the pros and cons in my head.

i also like that bru grill & market, per its name, has a specialty market where you can purchase some of your favorite things on the bru menu. consumables always make such good gifts (hint hint - hehehe). 

anyway, if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to put bru grill & market on your list!